The HBO series I May Destroy You has drawn acclaim for its gritty and gripping depiction of a young woman’s journey to piece together what happened the night she was drugged and raped. The brainchild of writer-performer Michaela Coel, I May Destroy You is one of the year’s best shows, not only because of its smart handling of the subject matter but also because of the provocative way the story is told. Mirroring Arabella’s (Coel) hazy recollection of her assault, the series itself presents some events as absolutes, others as questionable, and some as up to the viewers’ interpretation — and the same is true for the moral and ethical implications of characters’ choices. We love how free-spirited Arabella is one minute, but can find her frustrating the next as we cringe at some of her choices — something we did a lot in the ninth episode of the series, “Social Media Is a Great Way to Connect,” in which Arabella’s self-absorption is on full display and she lashes out at her friends, Terry (Weruche Opia) and Kwame (Paapa Essiedu).
“I did the most drafts on that episode because I couldn’t figure out how to allow the message of that episode to hit home and I felt uncomfortable doing it,” Coel told TV Guide. She initially considered using other characters to relay the episode’s message “so Arabella could learn while watching other characters mess up. And then I realized actually Arabella has to realize from her own messing up,” recalled Coel, who wrote, stars in, and directed episodes of the dramedy. “She has to really see her own capacity to be destructive, as destructive as I could possibly make her. So that was hard.”
The whole series is filled with absolutely incredible moments like this — some which feel like gut punches, some that are hilarious, but all of which are exceptional. With the finale arriving Monday, now’s an opportune time to watch the cast — including Michaela Cole, Weruche Opia, and Paapa Essiedu — look back on some of the show’s most electrifying and challenging scenes and reveal the behind-the-scenes process of making such brilliance. Check out what they had to say in the video above.
I May Destroy You airs Mondays at 9/8c on HBO.
I May Destroy You airs Mondays a 9/8c on HBO.